tv U.S. Senate Confirms Solicitor General Nominee 50-47 CSPAN September 19, 2017 9:59am-1:01pm EDT
>> this morning president trump speaks to the annual gathering of the united nations general assembly. live coverage on c-span at 10:3. >> later today the democratic policy and communications committee holds a hearing on president trump's election commission and concerns its rays of a potential privacy violations and voter suppression or live coverage beginning at 3 p.m. eastern o on c-span,, one at c-span.org or on the free c-span radio app. >> they use senate is about to gavel in this tuesday morning. comment up at 11 eastern they will vote vote to limit debate on the nomination of knoll francisco to be solicitor general and if that is approved the confirmation vote wil withie scheduled for 12:15 p.m. vice president pence will be lunching with republican senators reportedly to talk about the latest republican
health care plan authored by senator lindsey graham and bill cassidy. tomorrow senate lawmakers plan to do with the nomination of the national labor relations board and then they will adjourn for the rest of the week for a state work. the coverage of use senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, by whose providence
our steps are ordered. you are our source of hope, joy, and peace. guide our lawmakers on the path of integrity so that they will honor you. inspire them to recommit themselves to the noble principles upon which our nation was founded. give them wisdom to trust you with all their hearts and to passionately and humbly pursue your will, knowing that you have promised to direct their paths. today, may our senators experience the constancy of your presence.
lead them to your higher wisdom, and bring them to the end of this day with their hearts at peace with you. and lord, sustain those who are dealing with the ravages of hurricane maria. we pray in your great name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., september 19, 2017. to the senate:
under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable ben sasse, a senator from the state of nebraska, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the francisco nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of justice, noel j. francisco of the district of columbia to be solicitor general of the united states. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 11:00 a.m. will be equally divided between the two leaders
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, later today, the senate will vote on the nomination of noel francisco to become
our nation's next solicitor general. the office of solicitor general is responsible for representing the united states in litigation before the supreme court, a very important office. mr. francisco is very well qualified to lead. his private sector resume is impressive. his public sector service is remarkable. he clerked for a towering figure on the supreme court, the late
justice antonin scalia. during the administration of president george w. bush, he worked in the white house counsel's office. he is currently serving as the senior advisor in the justice department, after having served as acting and principal deputy solicitor general earlier this year. mr. francisco has successfully argued a number of complex cases before a number of courts, including notably the case of national labor relations board versus noel canning for the supreme court. in that matter, he represented a plaintiff noel canning in his successful challenge to president obama's unlawful so-called recess appointments. that -- that case is especially important for this body because the supreme court's unanimous 2014 decision reaffirmed that the senate, not the president, has the clear constitutional authority to prescribe the rules
of its own proceedings. while francisco is a great choice for this job and i urge my colleagues in supporting him. the finance committee is hosting another in a series of hearings on comprehensive tax reform. the president and his team and many of us here in congress are in agreement that passing tax reform is the single most important action that we can take today to energize the economy and help middle-class families get ahead. our tax code is overly complex and rates too high. chairman hatch and members of the committee are looking for a simplified tax code that works better for all of us. last week the committee's hearing examined how the tax code could work better for individuals and families. today the finance committee is discussing the consequences of the outdated tax code. in an increasingly global
economy our tax code stands as a barrier between american enterprise and economic prosperity. it actually incentivizes companies to send good american jobs overseas. that doesn't make sense at all. what we should be doing is working to bring them home. comprehensive tax reform offers the chance to do so. this is our once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally rethink our tax code. we want to provide american businesses, small and large, with the conditions they need to form, invest, grow, and hire. we want to p stop american jobs from being shipped overseas and bring jobs and investments so home so we can restore opportunity for our families. after eight years of a heavy-handed obama economy in which it seemed only the ultra wealthy could get ahead, it's time to help the middle class, working families, and businesses
get ahead. it is time for comprehensive tax reform. many of our democratic colleagues have expressed support for the overhaul of the tax code. i want to thank chairman hatch for his leadership and i look forward to this morning's hearing and more hearings to come as we continue to discuss our tax reform goals. i want to thank the president and his team as well for their strong involvement as well. comprehensive tax reform is clearly a top priority for the white house just as it is for the congress. so let's deliver more opportunity for the middle class, let's continue the hard work of tax reform to help american families and small businesses get ahead. and on one final matter, the men and women we represent have suffered a lot under obamacare. sky rcting costs -- skyrocketing costs and collapsing markets.
many of us believed our constituents deserve better. that's why we vote to repeal the failed law to replace it with something better. thus far they have succeeded. thus far they have yet to offer truly serious solutions of their own. last week our colleague from vermont rolled out health care legislation that would quadruple down on the failures of obamacare. it envisions what is -- envisions what is basically a fully government-run single-payer system the kind of system that would strip so many americans of their health plans. that would require almost unimagably high tax increases and that already collapsed, interestingly enough, in the senator's home state of vermont when they tried to do it. this is a massive expansion of a
failed idea, not a serious solution. democrats are he could lessing around it anyway. they think this massive expansion of a failed idea is what the future should look like. they will do everything in their power to impose it on our country but we don't have to accept it as our future. that is what senators graham and cassidy believe. they rolled out a health care proposal of their own last week. it would repeal the pillars of obamacare and replace that failed law with a new one allowing states and governors actually implement better health care ideas by taking more decision making power out of washington. governors and state legislators of both parties would have both the opportunity and the responsibility to help make quality and affordable health care available to their citizens in a way that works for their
own particular states. it's an intriguing idea and one that has a great deal of support. as we continue to discuss that legislation, i want to thank senator graham and senator cassidy for all of their hard work. they know how important it is -- how important it is to move beyond the
failures of obamacare. they know that our opportunity to do so may well pass us by if we don't act soon. mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, as the subway attack in london last week proves all too well, when terrorism goes underground, it doesn't disappear.
every day there are people operating like in the green station in fulom. they mean to do us and our allies great harm and they are not going away. as president trump said last week in this era where attacks like this are the new normal, we have to be proactive. we can't take our security for granted. we can't naively assume that when it comes to threats like that and others even bigger, our country is out of the woods. one way to be proactive and to keep our country safe is to reauthorize section 702 of the foreign intelligence surveillance act. earlier this month attorney general jeff sessions sessions and the director of national intelligence, dan coats, sent a letter to leadership calling for this reauthorization. it's easy to see why. title seven of the foreign intelligence surveillance act allows the intelligence community to collect vital
information about international terrorists, cyber actor and other important foreign intelligence targets. information collected under one particular section, section 702, helps prevent terrorist attacks and against maligned state actors as well. it does so by focusing on nonu.s. persons which is important because this is, as it's called, foreign intelligence surveillance. it focuses on nonu.s. persons located outside of the united states who are foreign intelligence targets, but that's not all. just as importantly section 702 also includes a comprehensive oversight regime to make sure the privacy of u.s. persons is protected under the constitution. s that done -- that's done not only by oversight here in the senate and in the house through the intelligence committees, but
also by the foreign intelligence surveillance court which monitors compliance with the law. there's been some criticism of this provision, but i must say the overwhelming support that section 702 reauthorization is quite remarkable in this polarized environment in which we live. even the privacy and civil liberties oversight board gave the program a ringing endorsement. but what criticism that has been made is actually based on very few actual facts and often reflects a misunderstanding, both the purpose of foist and the -- fisa and controls that con train government action. section 702 does not allow an intelligence -- intelligence personnel to evade the fourth amendment to the united states constitution. it may not be used to intentionally target a citizen of the united states. that citizen could be in new
york or new delhi. it doesn't matter. he or she is off limits. section 702 doesn't allow for bulk collection of intelligence that is obtained, rather the government's capabilities are specifically circumscribed. 702 does not ignore the possibility that intelligence personnel will inadvertently obtain information about u.s. persons, but that statute requires intricate procedures to minimize this type of incidental collection to make sure american citizens are not swept up in foreign intelligence surveillance targets. because of sawrd, 702 preserves privacy and civil liberties while giving our intelligence personnel the flashlights they need to find terrorists and other adversaries operating in the dark. this careful balance is why scholars at the u.s. navy
academy commenting on 702 summarizes there is no good case that comes up that authorizes it for renewal. that time for renewal is fast approaching. i join the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to reauthorize title seven before it sunsets later this year. section 702 is only one piece of our dense security puzzle. it complements many other pieces of legislation that was designed to handle our incredibly diverse array of threats. i want to mention one other. we need to strength enthe committee on foreign investment act in the united states. yesterday we passed the national defense authorization which contains an important cifis provision. i would like to thank the senior senator of arizona as well as the ranking member, the senior
senator from rhode island for including it in the national defense authorization act which we approved yesterday. this provision is critically important as it could help strengthen the process in which we screen investment by foreign companies to ensure that our military superiority and technological edge is not whittled away by foreign governments that might use our technology against us or to undermined our industrial base here in the united states. as you know, many national security threats don't make the headlines. some of them emerge gradually. they develop quietly when countries like china begin acquiring american technology in every way possible, knowledgeable of our laws, and in a conscious strategy to try to evade and circumvent those protections to undermined our industrial base. it's been reported that the chinese government has already made major investments in robotics an artificial
intelligence, pouring some $30 billion into early stage u.s. technologies over a six-year period. when the chinese are able to get their hands on the cuttle-edge technology imagine the boost for their technology. sifis needs to plug the holes in this protective regime. secretary mattis, the secretary of defense, said that cifis needsor updated. in -- my provision would begin the process. it would find ways to make the process work more effectively. the ndaa sets a stage for more comprehensive reform that i will be discussing in the coming days and weeks. i want to thank the senior senator from idaho for taking this important issue up in the
senate banking committee. as chairman his leadership on the committee has been indispensable and this is the latest example. the bipartisan legislation i'm spearheading is called the foreign investment risk review modernization act. it will modernize the process to prepare the country to meet the 21st century threat and i plan to introduce it soon. this bill would ensure first that the government scrutinizes closely those nations that are the biggest threats to our national security and, second, that it will obtain more authority to look at investment deals ta as of today don't fall under its purview just as certain joint ventures based overseas and minority investments in companies do not fall within its purview. it would give cfius the pow to -- colleagues i hope you will join me in this reform package
and i look forward to further debate on this topic. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: mr. president, there's a possibility by the end of next week the senate will have a
vote again on a republican health care bill that was assembled in the dark of night by one party without a full account of what the bill would do. it would be shameful, shameful return to the process that the majority used to try and ram a bill through in july unsuccessfully. to consider a bill like this without a full c.b.o. score is
worse than negligent. it's grossly irresponsible. we were told yesterday that the c.b.o. may be able to provide a baseline estimate of the cost of the bill, but not the coverage numbers or a detailed analysis of how the bill would affect americans' health care choices. now, mr. president, we're talking about one-sixth of the economy. we're talking about the health care of the nation. we're talking about the lives day in and day out of millions of americans who need health care, and we're not going to really know what the legislation does. senators will be voting blind. you know, they say justice is blind. but the senators on the other side of the aisle should be walking around here with a blindfold over their eyes because they don't know what they're voting on. maybe they don't care. i don't know any senator, i don't know how any senator could go home to his or her
constituents and explain why they voted for a major bill with major consequences to so many of their people without having specific answers about how it would impact their state. what we do know is that this new trumpcare bill, the graham-cassidy legislation is worse in many ways than the previous versions of trumpcare. the new trumpcare would devastate our health care system in five specific ways. first, it would cause millions to lose coverage. second, it would radically restructure and deeply cut medicaid ending the program as we know it. the dream of the hard right. get rid of medicaid could happ happen, even though that's a program that affects the poor and so many in the middle class, nursing homes, opioid treatment, people who have kids who have serious
illnesses. third, it brings us back to the days when insurance companies
could discriminate against people with preexisting conditions. the ban on discriminating against people with preexisting conditions would be gone. we had a lot of promises from the
other side. they'd never vote for a bill that didn't protect people with preexisting conditions. that seems to be going by the wayside in a headlong rush to pass a bill so you could claim a political victory. and what about that mom or dad who finds out his son, her son, daughter has cancer and the insurance company says yeah, we'll cover you. it will cost you $50,000. and they don't have it and they have to watch their child suffer. this was in advance -- an advance that almost all americans supported. it's an advance that most people on the other side of the aisle claim to believe in gone.
fourth, it gets rid of consumer protections that guarantees americans access to affordable maternity care, substance abuse treatment, prescription drugs. all of those could be out of any plan. pay a lot for a plan and not get much for it under this bill. and fifth, it would throw the individual market into chaos immediately increasing out-of-pocket costs for individual market consumers and resulting in 15 million people losing coverage next year, 15 million people. on the first point, trumpcare would cause millions to lose health insurance in two ways. first by undog the affordable care act -- undoing the affordable care act major expansion under medicaid and premium and cost-sharing assistance. instead of putting that into an adequate and tech rather -- instead putting that into an adequate and temporary block grant. and second, by radically restructuring and cutting
traditional medicaid program through a per capita cap. we don't have a c.b.o. score yet. we may not get one in time, but previous c.b.o. scores of similar schemes have shown that 30 million americans could lose coverage under this bill, 30 million americans, 10% approximately of our population. on the second point, the new trumpcare would end medicaid as we know it by converting medicaid's current federal, state, financial partnership to a per capita cap which cuts current medicaid funding on an annual basis. this is a direct blow to nursing home patients, folks in opioid treatment, and c.b.o. has said that 15 million fewer people would receive medicaid under similar proposals. on the third point, the new trumpcare actually brings back
the ability for insurers to discriminate against folks with preexisting conditions, as i mentioned. and fourth, the new trumpcare would no longer guarantee consumers affordable access to maternity care, substance abuse and prescription drugs. and fifth, like previous repeal and replace, it would immediately eliminate the individual mandate which would raise the number of uninsured by 15 million relative to current law in 2018 and increase market premiums by 20%. so you vote for this bill, right away 15 million lose coverage, premiums go up by 20%. people who vote for this bill are not going to be happy with its results. mr. president, each one of these five things represents a major step backward for our health care system. bringing back discrimination against folks with preexisting conditions, ending medicaid as we know it?
these are overwhelmingly popular with democrats, independents, republicans. the far right doesn't like it, the big financiers of the other party. they don't like entitlements, but americans do. we're going to go backward, backward. going to go backward and not even know exactly the effects. i think the other side, why are they rushing this through? they're ashamed of it. they need to have that political -- see, we abolished obamacare. but what they're putting in its place, even for those who don't like obamacare is worse. they don't want to know that and the joy that they will have, misplaced joy in my opinion, of abolishing obamacare will evaporate quite soon when their stifts fell the -- constituents feel the effects of this bill and they hear about it from people, average folks who are so
hurt. "the washington post" summed up graham-cassidy yesterday. they said the bill would slash health care spending more deeply and probably cover fewer people than the july bill which failed because of concerns over those details. republicans couldn't garner the 50 votes for their various health care plans earlier this year because of how much damage those plans did to medicaid, how they rolled back conditions for preexisting conditions. and some opposed because the process was such a sham. well, mr. president, all three conditions are here again with this bill. cuts to medicaid, no guarantee for preexisting conditions, sham of a bill. now there's a better approach. right now, chairman alexander, member murray are working in a bipartisan way holding hearings, working through the committee, going back and forth between the parties with discussions. each side is going to have to give. that's how it works around here
or should work and trying to get a proposal that will improve things. that's the kind of legislating many members of the senate have said they want to get back to. that's the kind of process worthy of this world's greatest deliberative body. but after a ranker rouse divisive debate that took up the better part of this year, democrats and republicans have been working in good faith to come up with bipartisan agreement on health care in the help committee. the republican majority would toss all of that wayway -- that away if they pursue graham-cassidy next week the way they're doing. workingreconciliation, no c.b.o. report, a momry of regular order. mr. president, i hope for their sake and the country's sake my republican friends turn back from this new trumpcare and join us again on the road to
bipartisanship. we've seen bipartisan sprouts bloom in the last month. graham-cassidy would snuff them out. nobody wants that. nobody. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic
leader. mr. durbin: what is business of the senate this moment? the presiding officer: the senate is considering the francisco nomination. mr. durbin: i ask consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i want to say that the comments made by the democratic leader, the senator from new york, really touch me because it gets to the heart of this institution. it was only a few weeks ago at a dramatic moment when senator john mccain returned from arizona to come to the floor of the senate and cast a historic vote to move forward on the debate on health care. he asked for 15 minutes after that vote to say a few words
about his experience as a person and his observations as a senator. i stayed in my chair because i wanted to hear it. john mccain came to the house of representatives the same year i was elected. our careers have at least been close or parallelled in some respects, though i couldn't hol a can to him in terms of his personal life experience and his experience in the military as well as being a candidate for even higher office. but i listened carefully as he repliendzed us of what -- reminded us of what it takes for the senate to work. what it takes, of course, is the determination of both political parties to solve a problem. and he reminded us that means sitting down in committee with experts working through some of these issues, particularly the more complebs issues -- complex issues, the give and take of the legislative process. and he pointed specifically to the effort to repeal obamacare
as a failure by those standards. he used as an example the fact that obamacare during the period of republicans' efforts to repeal was actually gaining popularity in this country. exactly the opposite of what the other party might have expected. it was an indication to him that we needed to do things better in the senate. just a few days later he cast a critical vote to stop what was a flawed process on the republican side, to repeal obamacare without a good alternative, without a good substitute. i remember that vote early in the morning right here in the well of the chamber. and i remember what followed when i saw senator lamar alexander and senator murray behind me in front of the cloakroom in a bit of a huddle after that historic vote. i learned later that they had decided it was their turn to step up on a bipartisan basis and find a way to strengthen our
health care system, not what we've just seen but a different way, a way that kind of relied on experts at state levels to give us advice and experts in washington to really cull through the ideas to find the very best. they invited other members of the senate to join them, even those of us not on his committee. senator alexander and senator murray had several meetings which i've attended which were very productive meetings, bipartisan gatherings over coffee and donuts with insurance commissioners from states all across the nation, commissioners from both political parties, bipartisan meetings of governors from states all across the united states and they were basically sitting down and saying what can we do now, what can we all agree to do regardless of party that will reduce the increase in cost of health insurance premiums, provide coverage for more people, and provide better health care, quality care?
it was a good-faith effort and it was encouraging. after seven wasted months on the floor of the senate of political debate. i went to those meetings and came away feeling very positive, and it was clear that some very basic ideas were emerging from all over the united states. one of the idea, cost-sharing reductions so that health insurance companies that took on sicker, older patients and had worse loss experiences would be able to be compensated so they could reduce premium costs, bring the cost of health insurance down, make sure more people had it available. another prom of -- proposal of reinsurance, let's find a way to make the increase in health insurance premiums slow down. i remember the commissioner from the state of south carolina, republican, who said that his experience was that in the next year health insurance premiums in the individual marketplace were going up 30%.
he said if you bring in the cost-sharing reductions, which the federal government can do, it would only be 10%. 10% is bad enough, 30% is painful. here's something we can do on a bipartisan basis to reduce the cost of health insurance premiums. it struck me as obvious that's what we should be doing as a united states senate. i applauded senator alexander personally, publicly, senator murray as well, for doing what the senate was supposed to do. little did i know while they were making this bipartisan effort, there was a republican effort to end the bipartisan conversation underway. the graham-cassidy proposal is an effort to repeal obamacare, but it's a flawed effort.
earlier this morning the republican leader came to the floor and spoke of the debate which we've had over and over again about what we're going to do in the future and he talked about the failed ideas of the past. well, i can tell you that the cassidy-graham proposal is a return toll failed -- to failed ideas, ideas rejected once by the senate, and certainly about the -- by the american people. in the newspaper there is a last-ditch obamacare repeal bill may be the worst one yet. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the article be entered in its entirety. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: let me quote a few sentences from the article because i think it makes the case for how bad the graham-cassidy would be. the bill would increase the
ranks of america's medley uninsured more by millions of people, cost state government billions more and pave the way for the elimination for all protection for those with preexisting medical conditions. he said the biggest losers would be the states that had the foresight to expand medicaid and provide health insurance coverage. he goes on to say, under this cassidy-graham bill they would, quote be, be punished with draconian cuts in health care funding. he goes on to write, among the big winners would be the states that have done nothing of the kind to help their residents, states refusing expand medicaid and interfering with efforts -- outreach efforts to bring more people into health insurance coverage. they would be rewarded --
perversely they would be rewarded for doing the wrong thing. over the last week or so, he writes, reviews of the measures have been pouring in from health care experts and they are almost all unanimously negative. major health care providers and consumer organizations have turned thumbs down as have analysts looking at its economic impact. mr. president, he talks about the impact of this bill beyond increasing federal funding for states that did not help their residents, cutting federal funding that did the bill provides no replacements for the tax credits available for small businesses and the subsidies for health insurance premiums currently in the law. beyond a capped block grant to states. in effect, he writes, it is a repeal and no replace bill. the congressional budget office, as it happens, analyzed that
approach in july in connection with a different bill. it found that by 2026 the number of uninsured americans would increase by 32 compared with the current law. s that -- that's about 50% more people uninsured that estimated for other republican repeal and replace measures which the budget office said could cut up to 20 million. honestly, can my colleagues on the other side of the aisle go home and say i voted to repeal obamacare and you're going to lose your health insurance as a result of it? i can tell you what it means in my state. a million people will lose health insurance because of this republican repeal effort. i don't know how any members in the senate or house can vote to take health insurance away from
massive amounts of americans. we're blessed here, those of us who serve in congress have access to good health insurance. it's not cheap. it shouldn't be, but it's there. it's always there and we don't have to worry about it. some members are wealthy enough, they take care of it in other ways. but for more here we pay our premiums and the government pays a share of it just as it does for federal employees. we have access to health insurance. how could we then turn and say to the people we represent, i just voted for a bill to take away your access to health insurance? and that's what this cassidy-graham bill does. that, to me, is hard to imagine that a member can believe they were elected to the united states senate for that purpose. what does it do to the states with this cap-blocked grant in terms of federal funds?
it's amazing. some states will lose as much as 60% of what they currently receive under the current law. according to numbers, and i quote from this article, crunched by the budget of center priorities, among the states that went all in for obamacare, including expanding medicaid and mounting aggressive enrollment support for the marketplaces, california would receive 27 -- $ 27.8 billion less, new york $18.9 billion less, and massachusetts $5.1 billion less. i looked at my state of illinois. it would lose $1.4 billion in federal funding by 2026. and just to show the contrast, the state of texas, which did not expand medicaid, which did not cover low-income individuals with health insurance, what would the cassidy-graham do for the state of texas?
they wouldn't lose a penny. they would add in federal funding $824 billion. they turned their back on -- low-income individuals because they didn't expand medicaid or increase the number of enrollees. some turned down coverage knowing that they would be rewarded for that approach. another provision of cassidy-graham that is significantly worse according to article is the latitude it gives states to eviscerate consumer protection rules in the affordable care act. the affordable care act said if you buy health insurance it will be there if you need it. if you buy it will protect those with preexisting conditions. going back to a failed idea in
the past which said if you have a sick baby, have a spouse who survived cancer, that you either can't buy health insurance or can't afford it, we got rid of it once and for all, or at least we thought it did. cassidy-graham brings that back to life. the disparity between the least expensive and most expensive is three to one, cassidy-graham has it at five to one. it means that senior citizen will end up paying more for their health insurance under cassidy-graham than they currently do under the affordable care act. when you look at the other protections that we build in to provide that your policy when you bought it would cover mental illness and substance abuse treatment,s that considered ref -- treatment, that's considered revolutionary, but finally we are looking at mental
illness as an illness rather than a curse. we're looking at it as something that can be successfully treated. yet, here comes cassidy-graham toasting -- tos sing out that requirement as well. i was talking to one of the republican senators the other day and he said some may not want to buy certain coverage. well, i can understand that, but i can also understand the reality of life. who can predict that next year, next month you wouldn't learn that perhaps your high school daughter has been taking opioids and now is addicted to heroin. you didn't know if before, not when you bought your health insurance policy, and now that you know it, whose going to cover the substance abuse treatment? under the affordable care act it is built into the policy, under the cassidy-graham policy, it's an option. try it if you like it.
we buy health insurance for things that we pray will never happen but we pay for it in case we do. cassidy-graham walks away from it. it's called flexibility. it's flexibility to buy insurances that there when you -- insurance that's there when you don't need it. why would we be richly rewarding states that have not done their part to expand medicaid coverage? why would we devastate the medicaid program that is so important to so many people? medicaid is a program which many people didn't understand until we got into this debate, but it's a programs that essential -- program that's essential if you have a disabled child. a young mother has a son suffering from autism told me that without medicaid coverage he would have to be institutionalized. there was no way the family could afford it. we know that medicaid is there
for that family and many low-income families to pay for pregneans -- pregnancies to make sure that the babies are born healthy. is that an important asset? of course it is. the one thing that costs the most in medicaid is something that the republicans don't want to acknowledge and that's the fact that two out of three people in nursing homes, seniors who are under medical care are under medicaid. without medicaid assistance, who is going to pay that bill, the family reaching into their savings? some can, but most won't be able to afford it. how will republicans explain that away as just one of the benefits of flexibility that medicaid's not there when your parent or grandparent desperately needs it. now that we have this debate before us which will come up by the end of next week and it is one that will affect people
across perk -- america. i, for one, will try to stop this. anything that will take health insurance away from 30 million nationwide is a bad start. it's a failed idea. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
assistant democratic leader. without objection. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of noel j. francisco of the district of columbia to be solicitor general of the united states, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of noel j. francisco of the district of columbia to be solicitor general of the united states shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: yeas are 49, nays are 47. the motion is agreed to the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: mr. president, i rise to speak in honor of the anniversary of the united states air force. since september 18, 1947, the united states air force has bravely fought to protect freedom, liberty, and peace on every continent around the
globe. from major international conflicts to providing humanitarian support throughout the world, the united states air force has continued to be the nation's leading edge across every domain and throughout every location. by meeting the challenges of an ever-changing word with limitless strength, resolve and patriotism, today more than 100,000 airmen are standing watch at 175 global locations committed to continuously defending the people and interest of the greatest nation in the world. as cochair of the senate air force caucus and the son of an air force master sergeant, i have been personally touched by the proud history of this distinguished service. from the earliest day of service, when the department of war accepted its first military airplane to the present day delivery of global air power, the united states air force has
made tremendous strides in the technological innovation and operationallization of air, space, and cyberspace. the earliest aviation pioneers believed in the notion of air power and had a force so formidable that its contributions would be equal to these of land and sea power. in essence, the birth of the united states air force began the dawn of a new era where the skies became the ultimate high ground. as we celebrate this historic occasion, we must remember and honor the courageous women of the united states air force as the service would not be what it is today without these fine airmen. i had the privilege of speaking at the national department prisoner of war which served as
a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by the men and women in uniform. one such airmen, kenneth walker played an important role in building the organization that would later become an independent air service. general walker's direct contributions to creating policy were instrumental in creating the united states air force. general walker was reported missing in action after his b-17 flying fortress went down in 1943 and host humansly -- posthumously awarded the medal of honor. his contribution symbolizes the commitment to meeting the demands of a dynamic and dangerous world.
these dedicated airmen and the values of integrity, service before self and excellence that uphold that all that he they -- that they do shows a legacy of valor. we owe them a tremendous amount of gratitude for the sacrifices they have made defending the earth. i'm especially proud of my home state of arkansas and its contribution to our air superiority. little rock air force base and the 188th wing in fort smith played an important role, and i look forward to supporting our airmen stationed in arkansas and throughout the world. i'm pleased to be here speaking on behalf of a grateful nation remembering honor and commending our airmen in the world's greatest air force.
nightmare as the senate did the right thing and voted down multiple proposals to repeal the affordable care act. people breathed a sigh of relief when their health care, when their children's health care was safe for the time being. unfortunately, republicans want us to go back to the nightmarish time by reigniting their proposal for health care coverage for millions of americans. while the bill the republicans are supporting today may have a new name, it contains the same mean, devastating policies. it's a zombie bill that despite best efforts and against the will of the american people will not die. like its trumpcare predecessors, the graham-cassidy bill will result in less coverage and increased costs. it eliminates the built-in
protections for americans with preexisting conditions, causing many of them to see their premiums skyrocket just because of a diagnosis. some experts estimated that an individual with diabetes could face a premium surcharge of $5,600 under cassidy-graham. cassidy-graham will also allow states to decide what insurers have to cover and what they don't, meaning once again your ability to have comprehensive health care coverage would depend upon where you live. this is not the type of health care reform people in this country want or need, and it is certainly not the type of reform to help us overcome our nation's opioid use disorder epidemic.
with 91 americans dying every day from an opioid overdose, we are clearly in the midst of our nation's preeminent public health crisis. over these last few months, we have heard time and time again that access to substance use disorder care is the linchpin to stemming the continually rising tide of opioid overdoses. unfortunately, it appears our republican colleagues have not been listening. to be fair, access to treatment today is still a challenge. only one in ten people with substance use disorders receive treatment. right now, an estimated two million people with an opioid addiction are not receiving any treatment for their disorder. yet, the solution is not to -- is not to block grant funds which would otherwise be used to
help people get care for their substance use disorders. the answer is also not kicking people off their insurance, but that's what my republican colleagues are yet again proposing to do. as with the previous versions of trumpcare, graham-cassidy would threaten insurance coverage for 2.8 million americans with a substance use disorder. it would end medicaid expansion and cap the program, slashing its funding and decapitating access to lifesaving care. this bill would simply take a machete to medicaid, the leading payer of behavioral health care services, including substance use treatment, abuse treatment. also, in the same vein as earlier proposals, graham-cassidy would allow states to waive the essential
health benefits, the patient's bill of rights put in place under the affordable care act that ensures that every plan provides comprehensive coverage, because covering mental health and substance use disorder treatments is expensive, this would likely be one of the first benefits to be cut. as a result, someone struggling with opioid use disorder would have to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs, likely forcing many to forgo lifesaving substance use disorder care. this epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose deaths will only get worse as long as we have a system that makes it easier to abuse drugs than to get help for substance use disorders. graham-cassidy would only exacerbate this already dire problem in our country. just last week, a leading sponsor of the bill said, quote,
we recognize that there are circumstances where states that expanded medicaid will have to really ratchet down, ratchet down their coverage. that's not improving health care. that is ripping insurance coverage away from the one in three americans struggling with opioid use disorder who rely on medicaid. that is gutting billions of dollars in additional care and treatment. graham-cassidy isn't a new block grant program. it's a chopping block program for medicaid, for coverage, for access to critical substance use disorder services. i believe past is prologue here. just as americans rejected the inhumane and immoral trumpcare of months past, they are already seeing that this new attempt is more of the same and in some
cases worse. many patient, provider, and other health care groups have already come out against graham-cassidy, citing the bill's inability to maintain the health care coverage and consumer protections currently provided in the affordable care act. it is deja vu. but enough is enough. republicans know this shortsighted stunt is distracting attention from bipartisan efforts to stabilize the individual insurance market and to help decrease costs. let's end this partisan gambit to repeal and replace the affordable care act and start focusing on ways to make the health care system in our country better and not worse. we need all of you in every corner of the country to once again stand up and fight against these mean attempts to harm the health of our family members, our friends and our neighbors. we need your energy, your
commitment and your passion to do what you did a few months back to help make sure our better angels once again will prevail. you've done it before, and i know you can do it again. and my democratic colleagues and i will be fighting right here with you to finally put this zombie health care bill to rest. this is the time. this chamber will be the place where we have this debate within the next week on whether or not there is going to be a destruction of the affordable care act, a destruction of the promise of access to health care for every american, and the republicans are coming back once again to try to destroy that promise. the republicans harbor an ancient animosity towards the goal of insuring that there is, in fact, universal coverage for every single american, that it
is a right and not a privilege, and what they want to do is to leave these programs as debt-soaked relics of the promises that have been made to ensure that there is, in fact, coverage for every american. so this is going to be the debate. daniel patrick moynihan, the great senator from new york, used to say that when you do not want to help a program or to hurt a program, you engage in benign neglect, benign neglect. what the republicans are doing is engaging in a program of designed neglect, of insuring -- ensuring after this designed program is put in place that there is a reduction in coverage, that there are fewer people who get the help which they need, that older people have to pay more, that fewer
people do get access, that planned parenthood is defunded. it's all part of a program of designed neglect of the health care of all americans. this is an historic battle. it was not completed in july. now in the next ten days, we must complete this fight and make sure they are not successful. mr. president, at this point, i yield back the balance of my time and i question the presence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended. i have ten requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. burr: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i rise today to join my colleagues on the floor to share my concerns that i have been hearing from people in my state about the latest health care repeal bill. minnesotans and patient groups, such as aarp, oppose this bill because eliminating the medicaid expansion and the affordable care act's hope for millions of people means that they would lose coverage and it would increase their out-of-pocket costs. people in my state are concerned
about this bill's impact on rural hospitals especially, as are the rural hospitals, because it makes deep cuts to medicaid and the new block grant in the bill for states would end completely by 2027. and i and i'm very concerned that this bill would reverse the progress we are making in addressing the opioid epidemic, by putting a cap on medicaid, a program that has been critical for substance treatment for people struggling with this addiction. you know, a few months ago, i pointed out that we were on plan f in the senate. plans a and b were the two house versions of a repeal plan. c and d were the two senate versions of the repeal. plan e was the repeal bill without a replacement plan. and then we were presented with plan f. and that, of course, went down after the senate democrats were
joined by three republican senators in voting it down. and i actually thought you couldn't get lower than f, but apparently we can because now we're here. well, many of the minnesotans i talked to don't like a, b, c, d, e, f, or the plan that we are discussing that has been proposed. i heard from people from all over my state at the minnesota state fair. i heard from democrats, republicans, independents. i heard from people from our cities and people from our rural areas. let me tell you, there are a lot of people there. nearly two million people at the minnesota state fair which is the biggest state fair in the country. so a lot of people stopped by my booth. i heard from the old and the young, from men and women, cancer survivors and people with disabilities and many more. none of them wanted us to keep going down a partisan path when it comes to health care. and that's why i was so happy to
tell them over the recess that new work was being done, bipartisan work, with senator alexander and senator murray, two senators who have proven they can work across the aisle on the education bill that they did last year. they are the leaders on the health, education, labor, and pensions committee, and they have been moving forward together with truly bipartisan hearings and discussions. i've attended a number of them with governors and with experts on this issue to figure out the best ways to strengthen the individual markets and to reduce costs. that's something we've done in our constituent successfully with an all-republican legislature and a democratic governor. we worked it in our state, so i figured we could maybe bring this out on the national level. but if that isn't enough, that that work could in fact be
imploded, that work that is going on with senator alexander and senator murray on a bipartisan basis in favor of another version of a repeal bill that hasn't even gone to a hearing before the help committee or regular order like we would expect the regular order that senator mccain spoke up for in his incredible speech that he gave when he came back to the senate, if that isn't enough, we heard yesterday that we will not even be able to get a full congressional budget office analysis of this bill this month. why would we rush to take a vote before we have that critical information? i have repeatedly heard my colleagues criticize moving forward with bills when we don't know their impact. our constituents are owed this. this is the entire health care system of america. why would we be taking a vote on a bill when we don't even know the full impact, when we do not
have a full score of the bill either financially or most honestly, the impact it would have on people's health care? our constituents are owed this, and it is their health care and it is their money that we are messing around with. when i talked to my constituents, none of them asked me to do what we already know this bill does, cut medicaid, eliminate the medicaid expansion, threaten protections for people with preexisting conditions, and kick people off their insurance coverage. instead, they want us to work together on bipartisan solutions to fix what we have when it comes to health care, to strengthen the exchanges, support small businesses, reform delivery systems, and lower the cost of prescription drugs. and i don't see anything in this bill that would do -- would lower the cost of prescription drugs, nothing.
i have heard the same message from senior groups and the children's hospital association, which are strongly opposed to this bill. i have heard the same message from the american heart association and the american diabetes association and the american cancer society, and several other patient groups who have said that this, quote, proposal just repackages the problematic provisions, end quote, of the bills that were voted down earlier this summer. but this bill, the graham-cassidy bill, is not the only option. instead of making these kinds of cuts and moving backward, senator alexander and senator murray have invited all senators, as i noted, to participate in their process. they have had dozens of senators show up at early morning breakfasts or as senator alexander calls them, coffees, 30, 40 senators showing up. i know because i was there.
why did they show up? because they know that we must make changes to the affordable care act. and they also know, based on the work we've seen in minnesota and other places, that these changes can be made across the aisle. in these hearings and discussions on bipartisan solutions, we talked about the state-based reinsurance program that was passed in minnesota. we're still waiting for that federal waiver. i'll make a pitch for this at this moment, from the administration. even passing it alone helped us to bring some promised rates down. i know alaska had the state-based reinsurance program and recently got approval from the administration, and new hampshire and other states are pursuing similar plans. that's why i support senator kaine and senator carper's legislation, the individual insurance marketplace improvement act, to reestablish a federal reinsurance program. this bill would lower premiums
by providing support for high-cost patients. and another topic that we have discussed frequently as part of the health committee process over the last few weeks, our cost-sharing reduction payments. these are crucial to stabilizing the individual market and reducing uncertainty. that's why i support senator shaheen's marketplace certainty act. it's clear that this type of legislation would get support from both sides ever the aisle to -- of the aisle to improve the system. but beyond these immediate fixes, it is long past time that we come together to pass legislation to address the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. i have a bill that would harness the negotiating power of 41 million seniors on medicare to bring drug prices down. right now medicare is actually banned by law from using their market power to negotiate for better prices. i bet on 41 million seniors for getting better prices, but we're not giving them that chance.
senator mccain and i have -- to allow americans to bring some safe, less expensive drugs from canada. senator lee and i have a bill that would allow temporary importation of safe drugs that have been on the market in another country for at least ten years when there isn't a healthy competition for that drug in this country. this would let patients access safe, less expensive drugs. senator grassley and i have a bill to stop something called pay for delay where big pharmaceutical companies actually pay off generic companies. they pay them off to keep less expensive drugs off the market. that bill would save taxpayers $2.9 billion and a similar amount for individual consumers. are those bills in this latest proposal that we see from our republican colleagues? no, they are not. instead what does this bill do? well, it devastates the medicaid
program, repeals big parts of the affordable care act that help people afford insurance, and instead puts in place an inadequate block grant that completely goes away in ten years. this bill does the opposite of what the people came up to me and talked to me about in my state over the august break. so before we rush through a vote on it, before we even know the impact on it, before it is even gone through the committee process like it's supposed to do, before we are even given an opportunity from senator lamar alexander and senator murray, the two leaders that matter, give them an opportunity to come up with their plan, no, the proposal would be to rush a vote on this, and that is just wrong. so what is this in real terms? well, it's a woman from pine island, minnesota. her husband struggled with mental illness for years, but she told me she felt so fortunate that he was able to
get mental health treatment through their insurance coverage. she is worried that if these type of repeal efforts succeed, people like her husband will go back to being desperate for help. this debate is about people with preexisting conditions who would see their costs skyrocket under this bill. terry from my state has ovarian cancer. unfortunately, it's not the first time she's had it. she said that when she was diagnosed back in 2010, she ended up declaring bankruptcy due to the cost of her treatment. terry said bankruptcy was, quote, just a reality for a lot of people with cancer, end quote. luckily, under the affordable care act, terry can afford insurance and is currently responding well to treatment, which, by the way, i see senator durbin here, is based on n.i.h.-funded research. treatment based on that research, treatment that unfortunately we cut back on in the bill, and senator durbin
will continue to fight to get that treatment through the department of defense included. but the bill we're facing now, the graham-cassidy bill, would allow insurers to charge sick people or those with preexisting conditions much more than healthy people, and terry is worried that it would make it difficult if not impossible for people like her to afford health insurance. and this debate is about all the parents who i've spoken to over the last few months who have children with disabilities. these parents would literally come up to me at parades over the summer and bring their kids over in the middle of the parade route and introduce those children to me. kids in wheelchairs, kids with down syndrome and say, this is a preexisting condition. this is what a preexisting condition looks like. that is why they opposed repeal. in minnesota, one out of four children get their health coverage from medicaid, and 39%
of our children with disabilities or special health care rely on medicaid or children's health insurance. we should be spending our time this week reauthorizing the children's health insurance program before states like mine run out of money at the end of the month before debating another repeal bill for which we don't even have our congressional budget office score on the impact. that score sounds technical but it's about what the bill would mean to people like those kids that came up to me in the parades with their parents, to people like terry with ovarian cancer. and this debate is also about our seniors in our rural communities. our hospitals are essential to rural communities. they don't just provide health services. they employ thousands of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care workers of the these rural hospitals often operate at margins of less than
1%. that's one reason senator grassley and i introduced the rural emergency acute care hospital act a few months ago to help rural hospitals stay open. but cutting medicaid by billions of dollars and repealing the medicaid expansion would move us in the opposite direction. in my state, medicaid covers one out of five people living in rural areas. i know my senate colleague, senator collins, capito and murkowski have previously expressed real concerns about the impact of medicaid cuts in their states which also have big rural populations. cutting medicaid and eliminating the medicaid expansion doesn't just threaten health care coverage for these populations. it threatens the entire local communities where these hospitals are located. and these rural hospitals are on the front lines of one important fight. that is a fight against this opioid epidemic. we just found out in our state
that last year over 600 people died from opioid and other drug overdoses, over 600 people. that is something like two per day. that is more than we see people die from car crashes in our state. it is more than we see people die from homicide. deaths from prescription drugs now claim more lives than either of those two issues. and this epidemic affects our seniors, too. one in three medicare part d beneficiaries received a prescription opioid last year. while there is much more work to do to combat the epidemic, i want to recognize the progress we've made with the cara act, with the cures act, with all the work that has been done. but making cuts to medicaid will move us in the other direction. we have all heard the voices, not just of those on the front lines of opioid crisis but from doctors and hospitals, patients, seniors, and nursing homes and schools saying that this bill is
not the way forward. so instead let's do what we all heard people wanted us to do in august. that was to work across the aisle on actual solutions to help people afford health care. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous rule, all postcloture time is expired. the question occurs on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
if not, the yeas are 50. the nays are 47. the nomination is confirmed. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that with respect to the francisco nomination, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate resume consideration of the emanuel nomination. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. i withdraw. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the nominati nomination. the clerk: nomination, national labor relations board, william j. emanuel of california to be a member. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate the previous order, the senate
live coverage of the senate when the return at 2:15 p.m. eastern on c-span2. protesters demonstrate president trump who gave his first speech to the united nations general assembly and political writing that he condemned authoritative regimes and harsh and trumpian terms threatening to total destroyed north korea.